In 1995, feminist leader Naomi Wolf called for a pro-abortion movement “that acts with moral accountability and without euphemism,” noting that, “With the pro-choice rhetoric we use now, we incur three destructive consequences -- two ethical, one strategic: hardness of heart, lying and political failure.” That hardness of heart was fully manifest in the profane video produced by the Center for Reproductive Rights celebrating the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.
But let’s go back to October 16, 1995, when the New Republic published Wolf’s remarkably candid article entitled, “Our Bodies, Our Souls.” Wolf made reference to “Dr. Joycelyn Elders’s remark, hailed by some as refreshingly frank and pro-woman but which I found remarkably brutal: that ‘We really need to get over this love affair with the fetus....’”
She explained that “Second Wave feminists reacted to the dehumanization of women by dehumanizing the creatures within them. . . . Yet that has left us with a bitter legacy. For when we defend abortion rights by emptying the act of moral gravity, we find ourselves cultivating a hardness of heart.” And she urged that abortion must be treated with “grief and reverence.”
In stark contrast with that attitude, the Center for Reproductive Rights released an online video which is so obscene that author Eric Metaxas writes, “When I first watched this ad, I thought, this HAS to be a spoof. It employs the ugly racial stereotype of a smooth-talking [black] predator celebrating his freedom to use women at zero cost to himself: Hey, baby, hook up with me—and then go have an abortion. Are they kidding? No; this was no spoof.”
The “smooth-talking predator” is actor Mechad Brooks who sits in a chair holding a red rose in one hand and a drink in the other, saying to the camera (as if speaking to his spouse), “All these years so many people said we’d never make it. They’ve been trying to tear us apart. . . Put limits on you, on me, on us.” And then, Metaxas notes, “he roars with laughter,” a sardonic, mocking laughter at that.
“We’re going to be standing right by your side, today, tomorrow, and the years to come,” he continues. “Because that is how much you mean to me, baby.” And then, once more, the laughter.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.